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Letter: Finding solace — and solutions — in Canada's child care deserts

This letter writer believes the Canadian government needs to invest more "sufficient funding" to ensure families have options.
Kid stacking blocks by the window of a child care facility. | Catherine Falls/Commercial/Getty Images

The Editor:

In Canada, nearly 50 per cent of children live in a child care desert, meaning in an area where there are more than three children for every available spot in a child care facility.

While the Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care system has managed to reduce fees by an average of 50 per cent for parents, securing a spot for their child remains a significant challenge.

To ensure every child has a child care spot, three major barriers must be addressed:

  • the labour crisis in the sector
  • the lack of infrastructure
  • the threat of privatization

These are three different barriers, but they have one common solution: sufficient funding from the federal government.

Sufficient funding to recruit and retain staff by offering better working conditions and benefits, including access to a pension plan.

Sufficient funding to eliminate child care deserts by opening new public child care centres across the country.

And finally, sufficient funding to build a strong and universal child care system, which will keep private companies at bay, because the education of our children is not a commodity!

The 2024 budget is an opportunity for the government to reaffirm its commitment to make the Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care system a reality by investing $7 billion to resolve the labour crisis in the sector and $10 billion to expand the early childhood education system.

This investment will enable child care workers to continue doing the work that they are passionate about, it will provide children with an opportunity to learn and thrive in the best possible environment and will give parents a chance to fully contribute to their community and our economy.

That is the virtuous circle of investing in our child care.

- Dylan Webb, Port Coquitlam

President, CUPE 4816